Puneet Varma

Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

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Formation  2005
2016 President  D. J. Moran, Ph.D
Headquarters  United States
Website  contextualscience.org
Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Membership  approx. 8,300 international members

The Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) is a worldwide nonprofit professional membership organization associated with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The term "contextual behavioral science" refers to the application of functional contextualism to human behavior, including contextual forms of applied behavior analysis, cognitive behavior therapy, and evolution science. In the applied area Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is perhaps the best known wing of contextual behavioral science, and is an emphasis of ACBS, along with other types of contextual CBT, and efforts in education, organizational behavior, and other areas. ACT is considered an empirically validated treatment by the American Psychological Association, with the status of "Modest Research Support" in depression and "Strong Research Support" in chronic pain, with several others specific areas such as psychosis and work site stress currently under review. ACT is also listed as evidence-based by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the United States federal government which has examined randomized trials for ACT in the areas of psychosis, work site stress, and obsessive compulsive disorder, including depression outcomes. In the basic area, Relational Frame Theory is a research program in language and cognition that is considered part of contextual behavioral science, and is a focus of ACBS. Unlike the better known behavioral approach proposed by B.F. Skinner in his book Verbal Behavior, experimental RFT research has emerged in a number of areas traditionally thought to be beyond behavioral perspectives, such as grammar, metaphor, perspective taking, implicit cognition and reasoning.



Established in 2005, ACBS has about 8,300 members. Slightly more than one half are outside of the United States. Since its start, ACBS has been rapidly expanding. There are 41 ACBS chapters covering many areas of the world including Italy, Japan, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Australia/New Zealand, the Balkans, France, the United Kingdom and Turkey. Chapters exist in the United States and Canada as well, including the mid-Atlantic, New England, Colorado, Washington, Ontario (CA) and several other areas. There are also 29 Special Interest Groups covering a wide range of basic and applied areas such as children and adolescents, developing nations, veteran's affairs, ACT for the Public, social work, stigma, and many other areas.


  • ACBS sponsors an annual conference, the World Conference on Contextual Behavioral Science. The 13th annual meeting was held in Berlin, Germany, July 14–19, 2015, and the 14th was held June 14–19, 2016, in Seattle. The 2017 meeting will be held June 20–25, 2017, in Seville, Spain.
  • In 2012 Elsevier began publishing the flagship journal of ACBS, the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.. As of mid-2016, its impact factor according to SCImago, using the Thompson-Reuters formula, is 2.54.
  • Other activities:
  • A scholarship program that sponsors participants from the developing world to attend the World Conferences.
  • Listservs for professionals and the public, as well as several list serves for specific language communities. Most chapters and SIGs maintain list serves as well. The largest listserv is on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and is for professionals who are ACBS members (see link below) with the second largest listserv focusing on Relational Frame Theory. (The ACT listserv for professionals spawned its own reference books of popular questions/topics called Talking ACT published by New Harbinger Publications and Context Press.) There is also a free listserv for members of the public who are reading ACT self-help books (see link below).
  • A small grant program for projects in contextual behavioral science.
  • The ACBS site also hosts a podcast series available from iTunes called ACT in Context.
  • The association's website contains resources such as therapist tools, workshops, and assessment materials, and provides information on recent books on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).


    Association for Contextual Behavioral Science Wikipedia

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